MSI, Acer Get Smart About Mechanical Laptop Keyboards

The slew of new thin and light gaming notebooks from the likes of Acer, Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI had much in common with one another, but only Acer and MSI saw fit to include mechanical keyboards on their models--or should we say “model,” because the companies have one each with the switches on board.

For whatever reason, OEMs often get skittish about sharing who manufactures the switches on their mechanical keyboards, and such was the case with MSI and Acer. MSI advertised only that its GT75VR had a “SteelSeries RGB mechanical keyboard”; Acer said even less about the switches on its Triton 700.

Solving the MSI mystery was easy. When we visited the company’s Computex booth, we just plucked off a cap and had a look. We found what we expected: low-profile Kailh switches.

These are most likely the switches we wrote about last year, but there’s an outside chance that it’s the newer version that Kaihua was showing off at this year's show. 

Also note that the spacebar is a little chunky, and the stabilizers underneath are Cherry (or at least Cherry-style).

Determining the switches on the Acer Triton 700 proved a tougher nut to crack, and actually, that particular nut remains intact. We were asked to please not remove any keycaps from the Triton 700, and the reps were standing right there, so we obliged. Short of a visual confirmation, we could tell that the switches are clicky, which leads us to suspect that they’re the same Kailh switches as on the GT75VR.

Acer Triton 700 (with no keycaps removed...bummer)Acer Triton 700 (with no keycaps removed...bummer)

They could also be low-profile Blue switches from TTC, but we don’t believe those have made it into circulation all that much yet--almost certainly not in enough time to get sucked into the product development cycle of a gaming laptop that’s just coming to market.

Regardless which switches populate the Triton 700, though, what we’re seeing with MSI and Acer is that both are showing product maturity. This is opposed to, for example, the MSI GT83VR Titan SLI that sports full size Cherry MX Speed switches, and the beastly Acer Predator 21X that has Cherry MX RGB Brown switches. Those are both fine switches, but because they were so thick and were stacked onto already thick chassis, they made the laptops almost a novelty.

Chunky and clunkyChunky and clunky

Suddenly, though, they have thin and light laptop designs and low-profile switches to match. It’s frankly somewhat amazing to see the jump from one generation to the next--the laptops got thinner and so did the switches, which means that now, you can enjoy the benefits of mechanical keyboards without sacrificing laptop thinness.

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